Dr. Neil Berrington MMed, FRCS, FCS(SA)

Assistant Professor
Head - Section of Neurosurgery

Dr. Neil Berrington was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and graduated from Medical School at the University of Witwatersrand in 1985. He subsequently trained as a Neurosurgeon in Pretoria, receiving Fellowships from the College of Surgeons of South Africa and the Royal College of Glasgow.  He obtained a Masters of Medicine in Neurosurgery at the University of Pretoria in 1995.

Dr. Berrington joined the Section of Neurosurgery in Winnipeg in 2001 and subsequently completed a Fellowship in Complex Spine Surgery in conjunction with the Department of Orthopaedics in 2004.

While in South Africa he spent 6 years in private practice in Johannesburg, where his main interests included spinal surgery and management of complex spine problems.  Here in Winnipeg, Manitoba he continues the practice of general neurosurgery with a special interest in complex spine problems, particularly related to minimal access surgical techniques. He continues to teach minimal access spine surgery, both locally and internationally.

In 2011, Dr. Berrington assumed the role of Section Head of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. He maintains an interest in medical education and is faculty with the Department of Medical Education at the University of Manitoba.

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Dr. Perry Dhaliwal MD, MPH, FRCSC

Dr. Perry Dhaliwal completed most of his early education in Calgary and obtained a Bachelors in Science at the University of Calgary in 2002.  He then completed his medical degree at the University of Alberta in 2006.  From 2006-2012, he returned to the University of Calgary to complete his residency in Neurosurgery.  During this time, he also completed a Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. To further develop his skills in spinal surgery, Dr. Dhaliwal completed a Complex Spine Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic under the tutelage of Dr. Edward Benzel.

Following completion of his fellowship training, Dr. Dhaliwal moved his family to Orlando, Florida to assume his academic position at the University of Florida in the Department of Neurosurgery.  In July 2016, Dr. Dhaliwal moved back to Canada to join the Section of Neurosurgery at the University of Manitoba.  He currently serves as the Undergraduate Medical Education Director for Neurosurgery and the Spine Fellowship Director for the Winnipeg Spine Program. Dr. Dhaliwal's current interests within neurosurgery include all forms of spinal disorders including trauma, degenerative spine conditions, spinal tumors and minimally invasive spine surgery.  He also performs general neurosurgical procedures for head injuries and brain tumors. Dr. Dhaliwal is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  He is also a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the AO Spine Foundation. Outside of Neurosurgery, Dr. Dhaliwal enjoys reading, outdoor activities and fitness.

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Dr. Gregory W.J. Hawryluk MD, PhD, FRCSC

Gregory Hawryluk is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Manitoba where his practice is focused on complex spinal surgery and the management of spine and brain trauma. Dr. Hawryluk grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta where he was designated as a Rutherford Scholar.  He completed his medical school at the University of Alberta with Honours and Honours in Research in 2003.  Thereafter he completed his neurosurgical residency at the University of Toronto.  During this time he also completed a basic science PhD in Neural Repair and Regeneration under the supervision of Dr. Michael Fehlings in which he examined the mechanism by which neural precursor cells augment recovery from spinal cord injury.  Greg then went on to complete subspecialty training in the management of neurotrauma and complex spinal surgery at the University of California San Francisco under the supervision of Drs. Geoffrey Manley and Dean Chou.

Dr. Hawryluk has recently returned to Canada after serving as the Director of Neurotrauma at the University of Utah.  Dr. Hawryluk is regularly invited to speak and to teach around the world and has contributed to a number of clinical practice guidelines which set the world standard for the management of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. His laboratory investigations have explored a theory for what may cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy and he has published numerous manuscripts advancing the clinical management of neurotrauma.  He has strong academic interests in advanced neuromonitoring, refinement of treatment thresholds, and clinical decision making in neurotrauma care.  Dr. Hawryluk leading a world-wide effort –along with Dr. Randall Chesnut from the University of Washington – to develop a modern treatment algorithm for the management of severe traumatic brain injury.  Dr. Hawryluk is AOSpine and Global Neuro Faculty and he sits on the curriculum committee of the later organization.  He serves as the Neurotrauma Section Editor for Operative Neurosurgery and he also sits on the Steering Committee of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.  He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for academic achievements such as the Murray Goldstein Award of the National Neurotrauma as well as humanitarian awards such as the University Health Network’s Sopman Humanitarian Award.


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Mike Johnson

Dr. Michael Johnson BA, BSc (Med), MD, FRCSC

Dr. Michael Johnson joined the Department of Surgery, Sections of Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery, in 2001.

Dr. Johnson graduated from the University of Manitoba Medical School [M.D., BSc (Med)] in 1994 after completing an undergraduate degree in Arts (English).  He was certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Orthopaedic Surgery in 1999.  Subsequently, he spent two years completing combined orthopaedic and neurosurgical adult and pediatric spine surgery fellowships in New York City (New York University Medical Center/Hospital for Joint Diseases) and Vancouver (Vancouver Combined Spine Program, Vancouver General Hospital).

Dr. Johnson’s research interests involve development of clinical spine outcome measures and work creating care pathways for clinical assessment, triage, and non-operative management of spine patients. The most recent result of this work is the Spine Assessment Clinic.  This multi-disciplinary clinic receives thousands of spine referrals and is responsible for allocating patients for both surgical and non-surgical care.   It also is a source of research publications on back pain management and spinal stenosis.  

Dr. Johnson's other academic interests involve resident and spine fellow education; he has been involved with setting national standards for educating Orthopaedic residents serving  as a Royal College reviewer and examiner from 2005 - 2010.  He was Orthopaedic residency program director in Winnipeg from 2005 - 2010.

Completed projects have been presented at national and international spine meetings (Canadian Spine Society, North American Spine Society) and have been published in many journals including Spine and the Journal of Neurosurgery, Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and Orthopaedic Knowledge Update Spine. Dr. Johnson’s research has received grant funding from the Alexander Gibson Foundation, Health Sciences Center Foundation, and the Manitoba Medical Services Foundation.

Dr. Johnson’s practice is exclusively spine surgery, focusing on adult and pediatric spinal deformity as well as spine trauma and tumor surgery.  

Currently, Dr. Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the sections of Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery/Winnipeg Spine Program at the University of Manitoba.    He is a member of the medical staff at Health Sciences Center, Grace Hospital, CancerCare Manitoba, Children’s Hospital, and SSCY (Specialized Services for Children and Youth). He is an active member of the Canadian Spine Society and is academic faculty for AO Spine, as well as a member of the AO Spine tumor knowledge forum.

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Dr. Mohammad Zarrabian

Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon Assistant Professor Division of Orthopaedic Surgery University of Manitoba

Dr. Zarrabian graduated from the Queen’s University in Kingston. He completed undergraduate degrees in Economics and Human Biology and doctoral degrees in Chiropractic and Medicine. His orthopaedic surgery residency was completed at the University of Manitoba and he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2014. After two years subspecializing in the field of spine surgery at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Toronto, he now integrated alternative and allopathic therapeutic options in the care of patients with pathology of the spine.



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Dr. Michael Goytan MD, FRCSC

Dr. Goytan graduated from the University of Manitoba medical school in 1989 after completing an undergraduate degree in Science and graduate degree training in Biomechanics. He then completed a mixed surgical internship and orthopaedic residency at Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospitals. He later became certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Orthopaedic Surgery in 1995. In 1996, Dr. Goytan left Winnipeg to pursue further training in spine surgery. He spent the next two years completing spine fellowships in Montreal (Program Director Dr. Max Aebi) and Vancouver (Program Director Dr. Marcel Dvorak), where he gained further experience in the development of instrumentation for the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, and the treatment of spinal cord injury and spine tumour surgery.

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Spine Assessment Clinic


Ariel graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation: Physical Therapy in 2013.  He has education in various treatment and assessment systems, including Acupuncture, Selective Functional Movement Assessment, and Active Release Technique.  After graduating, Ariel began his career working in Northern Manitoba, including the Thompson region. In 2016, he returned to Winnipeg and began work at the Health Sciences Centre. Ariel has worked in various services, including acute adult in-patients medicine and adult out-patient orthopaedics in Winnipeg and in Churchill, Manitoba. He has acquired a significant amount of knowledge in spinal care from his colleagues in the Winnipeg Spine Program since becoming a member of the Spine Assessment Clinic team in 2018.

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Marie graduated from a Medical Office Assistant Program at Robertson College in 2013. Upon graduation, she has worked diligently in both a hospital and office setting. Marie joined the WRHA Spine Assessment Clinic in 2015 to provide administrative support in managing the day to day operations of the clinic, working alongside with Physiotherapists, Surgical Office Assistants, Program Director and Spine surgeons. With almost 5 years of experience in office and health care, Marie understands the importance of maintaining a professional environment towards her colleague and patients.

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Shelley graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1996 with a Bachelor degree in Science, and with a Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy in 2001.  She completed her MSc in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Manitoba in 2019, with a thesis on lumbar radiculopathy.  She has further education, including various orthopedic manual courses for the upper and lower quadrants, and is certified in both Acupuncture and the application of Functional Movement Systems.  Shelley worked as a physiotherapist in various services at Concordia Hospital from 2001 to 2010, including medicine, surgery and outpatient orthopedics. She has been employed as an outpatient therapist at Health Sciences Centre from 2010 to present. Shelley is the co-creator of the Persistent Pain Class, and the Back Education program at Health Sciences Center.   Her role expanded to include the Spine Assessment Clinic since its inception in 2015.   She is the current Clinical Service Leader of Rehab Physiotherapy for Health Sciences Center.  Shelley’s experience in treatment of chronic pain conditions, research in spine pathology and clinical experience in orthopedics supports her role in the Spine Assessment Clinic.    

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Research Assistants

Kim Bertone

Kimberly Bertone, CCRP

Kim is a research coordinator for the Winnipeg Spine Outcomes and Research Program. She joined the Department of Surgery in 1994 after graduating from Herzing College where she received the Honours Graduate Award in the Medical Secretary Program.  She began her career at the Health Sciences Centre in Urology working as a Surgical Office Assistant for Dr. Ramsey until his practice closed in 2001. She then took the position of Surgical Office Assistant in Orthopedics with a foot and ankle surgeon, until he left Winnipeg and she began working with the orthopedic spine surgeons.  In 2004-2005, she enrolled and graduated from Red River College with a 4.5 GPA in Clinical Research.  She then moved into the position of Research Coordinator with the Winnipeg Spine Program. In 2009, Kim joined the Society of Clinical Research Associates and passed the certification program with a passing grade of 98% earning the designation of Certified Clinical Research Professional.  In October 2012 she began management of the Surgical Outcomes and Research Program in Winnipeg and was the first in Canada to enroll in the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network’s national database. Kim’s favorite diversion from daily data collection is putting on earphones and listening to her much loved audiobooks.

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Jenn Swain

Jennifer Swain

Jennifer Swain is a Surgical Outcomes Coordinator with the Winnipeg Spine Program. She has been involved in the field of medicine for several years, initially managing and running a family practice for 15 years and then a further 4 years with the Department of Surgery, Section of Neurosurgery. In her spare time Jennifer plays elite level ringette, recreational hockey, ball hockey and baseball. Additionally she is very involved in volunteer services with the Youth in Crisis, Rossbrouk House and the Kindred Spirit Program. She’s also a keen supporter of the Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

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